IN A NUTSHELL 6/2019-20

IN A NUTSHELL 6/2019-20

RED HAZE IN INDONESIA

Photos taken by Eka Wulandari from Indonesia have arguably been the most discussed ones last week worldwide. Because of the so-called ”red haze” what you can see reminds more of Mars than Earth. Literally everything is red and looks very scary. Many people argue the photos were fake but the author denies such accusations. They were taken in Jambi province in Indonesia where forest fires are exceptionally spread at the moment and the skies indeed turned red. Scientists who explained the phenomenon for BBC say it is possible because of particles 0.05 micrometres in size which are present in the haze and have a tendency to scatter red light more. Citizens say the red haze hurts their eyes and throats. Photos being real or fake, it certainly is true a lot of forest is on fire in Indonesia (every year, sadly). This year alone some 384,724 hectares of land have already burnt. The reason is the same as in the Amazon: corporations and farmers seeking money, in Indonesia from palm oil and paper plantations in particular.

Source: bbc.com, an article from September 23, 2019 about red haze in Indonesia

 

GOVERNMENT PLANE RESCUES POLISH VOLLEYBALL TEAM

The last weeks have been an amazing time for Polish volleyball fans. Through most of the Volleyball European Championship they remained absolutely undefeated, winning in spectacular style. Over six matches they lost only 1 set and hardly ever let their opponents collect 20 points, which is very unusual for volleyball. When they were about to set off for Ljubljana where they were going to play their semi-final game, an unusual problem occurred, at least at this level of competition. Because of a strike of a Slovenian airline, the Polish team’s flight was cancelled and they were left with an option of 18-hour bus journey from Amsterdam. This is when PM Mateusz Morawiecki announced Poland would set their government plane to transport the players on time and make sure they are well-rested before the important game. The ”rescue operation” was successful, the semi-final itself, however, was not. After a nervous and controversial game Poles lost against the hosts, Slovenia. To make up for this, they won the bronze medal on Sunday, beating France in Paris.

THE BRIGHT SIDE OF FACEBOOK

Although Facebook made it to the news headlines many times in a negative context (Camdridge Analytica, selling data of users, impact on mental health), it does have a bright side. It all started in 2015 with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Everybody remembers the initiative but few people are aware its real purpose wasn’t just pouring a bucket of cold water over one’s head, but collecting funds for ALS Association. The association’s aim is to help people who suffer from ALS, a condition whose symptoms include slowly disappearing muscles and which leads to death within 3-5 years on average. Ice Bucket Challenge gave birth to Birthday Fundraisers, a way to collect money for charity organizations through Facebook on the occasion of user’s birthday. This is how since 2015 over 45 million users donated their money through Birthday Fundraisers and other charity collections and over 2 billion dollars combined was transferred to help those in need. When a fundraiser manages to attract enough attention incredible sums are collected within days, sometimes within hours. The record in Poland was PLN 16 million during the collection for GOCC (WOŚP) after the assassination of Paweł Adamowicz, the former president of Gdańsk.

Source: businessinsider.com.pl, an article from September 19, 2019 about Facebook fundraisers

THIRD PRESIDENTIAL IMPEACHMENT CASE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

On September 24, 2019 the Democrats from the House of Representatives (the US equivalent of Polish Sejm) announced that they were launching an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Impeachment inquiries are investigations checking whether current government officials commit crimes while in office – they are restricted neither to the US, nor to its presidents. In case of US presidents, however, they are extremely rare. Only two others (Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998) have been impeached and neither of them was eventually convicted by the Senate. The reason for the inquiry this time? In late July in a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, president Trump made it clear that he would appreciate if the Ukrainians helped find damaging information on his potential rival in the next presidential elections, Joe Biden. Or more specifically: on Joe Biden’s son illegal business dealings in Ukraine. As Ukraine’s national security heavily depends on US military help, Trump’s actions could be interpreted as extortion. It is important to understand that impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office. It is only “a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law.” However, in the famous case of another former US president Richard Nixon, the mere possibility of impeachment inquiry was enough for him to resign even before the actual proceedings began.

Source: cnn.com, a September 26, 2019 CNN10 material on the impeachment of Donald Trump.

DISCUSSION:

  1. An international agency should control forest fires worldwide.
  2. Sending a government plane for volleyball players was inappropriate.
  3. Facebook has more advantages than disadvantages.
  4. Impeachment inquiries are a waste of tax payers’ money.

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